Skier AJ Ginnis secures Greece’s first world medal on snow

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In a historic moment for Greece, Alexandros Ioannis ‘AJ’ Ginnis claimed a silver medal in the Alpine skiing world championships slalom race on Sunday, finishing just 0.20 seconds behind gold medallist Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway.

Ginnis, who learned to ski at Mount Parnassus in Greece, became the first Greek skier to make it to the World Cup podium and win a medal in a Winter Olympic sport.

“You put Greece on the map,” Johan Eliasch, president of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, told Ginnis before handing him the silver medal at the awards ceremony.

Ginnis stood second after the opening run and held on to his position to finish 0.20 seconds behind Kristoffersen in the final race of the competition.

“It’s just a dream, the last two weeks. History for Greece, best moment in my career,” Ginnis said. “I can’t believe it. I don’t know what happened. During the run, I thought it was not enough and I just gave everything in the last gates.”

Ginnis was born in Greece and learned to ski at Mount Parnassus, a 2.5 hour drive from Athens. At 12, he moved to Austria with his father, a ski instructor. He then moved to the United States and competed for the US ski team at the 2017 worlds.

Due to a series of injuries – he’s had three ACL surgeries, one MCL plus operations to repair “a bunch of meniscus and cartilage damage” – Ginnis struggled to provide results for the US team and the American men’s slalom squad was disbanded after the 2017-18 season. That’s when he decided to start racing for Greece.

He is now coached by two friends, Sandy Vietz and Gaby Coulet.

“He went to chase his dream for Greece after so many injuries and he never let go,” Coulet said. “He’s a role model of perseverance and also sportsmanship.”

Source: ESPN.

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